Appearing in "Head Games!"

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Synopsis for "Head Games!"

Following the Hulk's battle against S.H.I.E.L.D., Bruce Banner hears some groans and orders the Hulk to check. He finds his wife Betty had stowed away on the S.H.I.E.L.D. convoy. When she sees the Hulk standing behind her husband, forgetting that it's Rick Jones, Betty begins shrieking hysterically before passing out. Bruce then convinces the Hulk to help carry the two of them back to Gamma Base. Since Rick's Hulk incarnation is more peaceful than Banner's, the Hulk wearily complies. Their arrival is good timing as the sun begins coming up triggering a reversion back into Rick Jones, saving them from having to explain why the Hulk is with them. Getting Rick into the facility, Betty sees her husband off so that he can begin trying to cure Rick. Betty is soon confronted by Clay Quartermain who is unhappy that she sneaked off Gamma Base, but she isn't interested in hearing so and pays a visit to her comotose father. She confides her problems to him and begins to cry, wishing her father could say something. Surprisingly, Thaddues Ross wakes up from his coma calling out Betty's name. Meanwhile, the South Carolina butler whose master seeks out to use the Hulk's body is now at the airport. His master is attached to his head, and is concealed under the hood of his sweater. The butler boards the plane without raising any alarm and finds himself seated next to a very portly and opinionated passenger.

Back at Gamma Base, Clay Quartermain confronts Bruce and demands to know what it was they fought at his secret lab. Banner dances around the questions until Quartermain is informed that Ross has woken up and leaves to debrief him. In the infirmery, Thaddeus Ross explains to his daughter of his experience being bonded to Zzzax and how he feels fine, more so even, as he shows Betty that he can now generate electrical bolts. Ross explains how he intends to use these powers to destroy the Hulk, but Betty reminds him that Bruce Banner has been cured of being the Hulk. Thaddeus refuses to give up his vendetta, and this causes Betty to go into hysterics. When Clay Quartermain and Doc Samson finally arrive, Betty has slipped into a catatonic state, having suffered a total breakdown. At that same moment, the Hulkbusters continue to discuss staying together and working for S.H.I.E.L.D. and they once more agree that they will remain together. Soon Armand Martel finds himself before a number of S.H.I.E.L.D. agents who are reporting the strange creatures they encountered during their last battle with the Hulk.

Later, at the New Mexico airport, the butler gets off his flight. His fellow passenger has noticed that the butler has visibly aged. This is because his master has almost drained his body of its life energies. Seeking a new host, the creature leaps from atop his butler's head and onto the portly passenger. Now in control, the creature makes the fat man put on the hoodie and take a cab to Gamma Base in the hopes of finding the Hulk. When it arrives on the scene, he takes control of the guard minding the gate and forces him to shoot the man who brought it here. With the creature concealed under the soldier's helmet, the creature begins searching Gamma Base for the Hulk. The creature happens upon Doc Samson in the med-lab talking Betty out of her state of mind. The creature then switches over to Samson's body. When Betty sees the dis-embodied brain attach itself to the Doc's head, she is horrified and faints.

The creature, calling itself the Nevermind, takes control of Gamma Base, sealing everyone inside. This raises the alarms and happens just as Bruce was seeing Rick off base with a fresh set of clothing. Trapped inside, and with the sun about to set, Bruce tells Rick to hide before someone sees him change into the Hulk. When Bruce joins the others and confronts the Nevermind, it demands that they turn over the Hulk or it will kill Betty. Just then the sun goes down, causing Rick to transform into the Hulk and he comes crashing in. The creature manages to use Doc Samson's body to fight off the Hulk. With everyone piling onto it, the Nevermind realises that it's only hope is to attach itself to Betty Banner. However, when it tries, Bruce leaps in the way having the Nevermind attack to him instead. Seeing this selfless sacrifice makes Thaddeus Ross begin to reconsider his opinions about Bruce Banner. The creature then tries to get closer to Betty and then tires to attach itself to her again. This time, Thaddeus gets in the way. The Nevermind then finds that a combination of Thaddeus' will power and powers are interfering with his ability to take control of Ross. Ross then uses this moment to unleash the full brunt of his electrical powers, killing the Nevermind in the process.

As the Hulk escapes, everyone rushes to Thaddeus Ross' side and discover that this took the last of his strength out of him and he is apparently dying. His last words are to Betty, telling her that he no longer thinks Banner is a coward and how he forgives the Hulk. His final words to Betty are that he loves her. Thaddeus then dies in Betty's arm.


Continuity Notes

  • Everyone thinks that Bruce Banner has been cured of being the Hulk after he was exposed to a nutrient bath in Incredible Hulk #325, the same bath that curse Rick with transforming into the Hulk.

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